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Pot measures placed on pause in Scappoose

City Council seeks more time before approving ballot measures for prohibiting and taxing recreational marijuana

Scappoose city councilors unexpectedly postponed a vote to put two marijuana measures on the November ballot.

After enacting a temporary moratorium on recreational marijuana businesses in the city, a majority of the council voiced support for a ballot measure that would ask voters to ban recreational marijuana sales in the city permanently.

Before voting to approve ballot measure language Monday, councilors asked for more time to consider the consequences of a prohibition on recreational marijuana sales, cultivation and processing in city limits.

Shelby Rihala, an attorney for the city, said the city's moratorium would end after the November election, unless voters pass a permanent ban.

The prohibition would not affect the city's medical marijuana dispensary, but it would prohibit medical marijuana processing sites in city limits.

While some councilors, like Jason Meshell and Barbara Hayden, remained in favor of limiting marijuana sales in the city, others maintained staunch opposition to the ballot measure.

"I'd just like to remind folks on the council that if we prohibit it in the icty, it's not gonna go away," Councilor Joel Haugen said, refering to the county's regulations that allow for marijuana grow sites and retail sites, outside city limits. "I think we're really shooting ourselves in the foot with this process. To me, it's just a complete exercise in futility."

Councilors also opted to wait on approving a similar ballot measure for voters that proposes a 3 percent tax on marijuana sales, if voters don't approve a ban.

Councilors said they wanted more time to research the legal outcomes of both ballot measures. The City Council is expected to revisit both issues next month.